The prospect of watching Villa is bad enough, never mind trying to find five reasons to be cheerful. Against Bournemouth, I couldn’t bring myself to do both, so skipped the Five Reason Column.
In terms of the Saints game, shortly before setting off for Villa Park in the morning for a Fan Consultation Group meeting with supporter reps, Villa chairman Steve Hollis and Brian Little, a friend offered me free tickets for both of the FA Cup semi-finals.
It was the perfect excuse to avoid watching the current shower in claret & blue, so after the meeting, I headed to News Street to catch the train to London. It was an opportunity to catch up with my old man, who’s a United fan, so it was a decent treat for him and also for me it was a rare opportunity to watch football in which both teams had a chance of winning.
Certainly the football was of a better class in the first FA Cup semi-final between United and Everton, but the interesting thing about the Palace vs Watford game was both teams’ support. Both teams have ultra-type supporter groups and they have obviously worked with their clubs to arrange their support at Wembley. it was fantastic.
Anyway, since i missed the Saints game, here’s a little later than usual five reasons to be cheerful as a Villa fan.
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4. Petrov Steps Up
Going back a few years, when the news that Stilyan Petrov was diagnosed with leukaemia came out, all Villa fans and the rest of football were hoping Stan would pull through, never mind play football again.
Since winning his battle and recovering, Stan has been known to play the odd charity game and Sunday League game, but this week he announced he was aiming to play professional football again. The news certainly proves he’s made a full recovery to even be thinking about it, which is great news.
The news was announced when he was promoting his foundation’s charity golf event, so the story obviously helped get the word out, but some newspapers put the slant on Stan potentially playing for Villa again. Putting sentiment aside, this is pretty unrealistic considering what he’s been through and also the fact he’s going to be 37-years-old.
Arguably Robert Pires was a better player than Petrov and he was 37-years-old when he was at Villa, and he didn’t exactly set Villa Park alight. Age catches up with you in the middle of the park, and certainly in the Championship, Villa will need midfielders with real energy.
Still, it’s amazing news that Petrov will be training with Villa to get fit in the hope of playing professional football again. It will be quite a story if he gets a contract somewhere considering all he’s been through. A real miracle.